WIGAN ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Gabriel Agbonlahor of Villa celebrates scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa at the DW Stadium on January 25 2011 in Wigan England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Gerard Houllier just can't get away from John Carew. Even though the big man has left Aston Villa, he's now let the world know he "found no motivation" in playing for Houllier. On the other side of the coin, Gabriel Agbonlahor is willing to sacrifice his own wishes for AVFC. But Ashley Young? He's good for now, thanks, but a new contract remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Houllier himself spoke a few words about team unity:
"All I know is we are physically fitter, stronger - and mentally stronger as well. The togetherness of the side can be felt."
So we've got Carew, unable to get the chip on his shoulder, saying he won't be motivated by Houllier. We have Gabby, willing to sacrifice his preferred central position for the left wing, and looking great while doing it. And we have Ash, who won't talk about a contract, but who is willing to say the arrival of Darren Bent boosted the squad, and compliment Jean Makoun as well. We've also seen Richard Dunne relegated to the bench earlier this season for acting like a child, and there are rumors that Barry Bannan's exclusion from the player list against Wigan was for much the same reason.
But what we Villa fans are finally seeing is how it all comes together. The team is starting to understand what their new manager wants, and more importantly, they're willing to get past their own individual desires to pull the team back into winning ways. And those who aren't willing to get over themselves? At least they free up the wage bill when they're shoved out the door.
As for Young's contract, don't panic too much yet. He's wearing the captain's armband over both Nigel Reo-Coker and Richard Dunne, and he seems to love that little strip of fabric. Ash may not be talking about a contract just yet, but let's just get out of this season in a decent position and see how the new signings come together. If they work as well as we all hope, we'll likely see Young stay claret and blue.